Pathway ‘Expert by Experience’ Alister Ferguson has passed away at the age of 57.
Alister became involved with Pathway in 2013, and made a large contribution to the development of the EbE programme. His great honesty made him a fantastic example of the way that people with a ‘lived experience’ bring that missing ingredient to the table. He represented Pathway on many occasions, and was a regular face at International Symposium on Homeless and Inclusion Health.
Alister spent a large part of his childhood in children’s homes and his history of homelessness went back to the 1970’s. Despite this difficult history, he focused on the positive, and would often wax-lyrical about his exploits, good and bad. It was easy to be charmed by his ability to bring humour seamlessly into his story-telling.
His lively lectures with year 1 and 2 medical students means that doctors of the future will have a greater understanding of the needs of homeless and excluded people.
His hard-hitting education work with the Stories of Rebirth project helped to challenge public opinions about homelessness.
As a result of his work he was invited for tea at the House of Lords with Lord Victor Adebowale, Chief Executive of Turning Point, a moment he later said was one of his best experiences.
Alister recently took part in discussions about Pathway’s approach to including Experts by Experience, making valuable contributions from his insights over the last 3 years. We have compiled this work into a handbook for involving people with lived experience of homelessness in the running of services. It is fitting that such an important step forward for us as an organisation has Alister’s input so heavily embedded in it.
The whole team are shocked at this sad news. We can only reflect on the difference he made to our work, and the privilege we feel that he gave so much and allowed us to be part of his life for a while.
His legacy will live on.
Stan Burridge, Expert by Experience Project Lead